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How dependent on the U.S. rival Ford

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DETROIT. The man, look for the Detroit now everyone is a little man in a gleaming white shirt. Somewhat lost Alan Mulally is on a huge theatrical stage. The room in the basement of the exhibition hall is mysteriously blacked out, only a small spotlight brings Mulallys shirt to radiation. "2009 was a year that we said will never be forgotten," Mulally. He adjusts his dark red tie, showing his still boyish smile. Show Time! Finally! After five years of drought, which felt like ten!

This is the Detroit Motor Show, opening on one of the most important auto shows in the world. And the man in the dark right now is the only car boss out of the car manufacturers’ Mecca of Detroit, who reminded his audience volunteered for the recent past. For he is the only one who has a reason.

General Motors and Chrysler, two icons of U.S. industry and Mulallys major competitors who have one years of bankruptcy behind him. They beg had billions from the taxpayers in order to survive. But for him, Alan Mulally, the aircraft engineer with a pilot and chairman of Ford, 2009 was the year of breakthrough. The company, number two of carmakers in the U.S., has completed a series of poor quarterly results, a series of humiliations. More importantly, the continued paragraph weakness of the U.S. competition is a great opportunity.

Many winners are not available in the industry, the crisis has made the most manufacturers in the world hard. But play begin Mulally and his team, with the competition hare and hedgehog. They are more often already there, where some of the once-powerful GM Group plans to still get there: in the profit zone, for example. Mulally noted for the third quarter of 2009, nearly one billion U.S. dollars net profit. That is, in the face of 27 billion U.S. dollars consolidated debt, far from being a cause for complacency. But for hope. The FordShare is also since the beginning of the week for more than twelve dollars – eight times what they still cost a few months ago. Chrysler and GM, however, are far removed from the price lists of the New York Stock Exchange. Suffer And while his rivals for months in some dramatic lost sales, wins Ford new customers.

Reason enough for new self-confidence. Even Ford stood close to the abyss. A-deficient, leaderless wandering about tankers. Between 2006 and 2008, the Group has made 30 billion U.S. dollars loss, even under Mulally. His first business was soon a case for the recycle bin, run over by a never before seen decline in the U.S.. But Ford did not fall, because Mulally taught his new company, strict cost discipline. He persuaded 500 banks from its reorganization plan and organize the end of the credit boom 24 billion U.S. dollars of fresh money. That was just enough so to have to apply for around 2008, no state money. It is true that Ford have to give in return its main assets up to the oval blue logo on banks. But Ford continued to act independently of politics.

Who sent this time, the highest ranking spy in the exhibition halls to Detroit.

When Sergio Marchionne, boss of Fiat and Chrysler, and as always in a dark wool sweater, with a goldgewandeten Model Lancia Delta one imagines, is not a slight man with horn spectacles far. Ron Bloom, thin briefcase in his hand, Obama is a specialist when it comes to setting save key industries, reorganize traditional concerns and to explore trade-offs. He is Obama’s man, GM and Chrysler led by the insolvency. Now he can show new cars. He seems satisfied. "There’s a feeling that we for the first time in many years running in the right direction."

Later in the afternoon, Nancy Pelosi sits down in cars, smiling with the managers of domestic producers for photographers. But that is not her real job. They, the Speaker of the House, should control that will not get paid for with state money a whiz. The U.S. government has pumped more than 50 billion U.S. dollars into the domestic auto industry to prevent a collapse of giants. The money was not for elaborate self-portraits, perhaps even Alkoholausschank intended. She also has little to criticize, the Americans have to celebrate their fair no reason to. Except Ford.

Mulally is suddenly surrounded by a blue and white alphabet soup, which the lighting projected on the theater stage. "One Team One Goal One Plan One Ford," giant letters without full stops and commas. When Mulally takes the stage, do the directors what they were decades before the crisis came: you play a heavy guitar riffs at the limit of reasonable volume. Engine noise, which endure even hard-bitten factory workers with ear protection. And finally, lightning and thunder and noise than would have the next disaster brewing over Detroit. This will Ford just playing: present and future.

On the screen, a dark red races Ford Focus at breakneck speed through a city. The driver plays around on an iPod-like center console, leafing through music albums, selected phone numbers, then skips to the navigation system. "What luck," mutters a complimentary from the depths of his cinema seat, "that there is now even a small car such as the Ford Fiesta comes standard with seven airbags! "

The claims remain high, but the cars will Ford now build smaller. For years, the powerful pick-up truck F-150 the best-selling vehicle in America, by far the most important source of Group profit. Without pick-ups, which are at the heart of the United States today before any garage, would be the "big three", the big three American auto companies long history. The equation in Detroit, always said: big cars, big margins – small cars, no margins. The view has changed, as the world economy grumbled at their peak, oil prices are screwed into never-seen heights and a tankful times already cost $ 100 or more. Since matured at Ford the decision to build more small and midsize cars, even if the yield nearly as much profit.

Now Ford so far, his two most important vehicle presentations come from the small and mid-size car category. A new Ford Focus and its smaller relative, the Fiesta. Gone is the time when the premium brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin made problems. Mulally has made money in 2008, before the free fall of the industry.

Detroit takes the vital signs very good note. The "breathtakingly beautiful" Focus, a sporty with a new two-liter four-cylinder engine that had only one blemish, rejoices the local paper, "Detroit News" after the performance: "the wait". One year, the U.S. trade still waiting quietly on the most recent version of a car driving in Europe since 1998 – was reasonably successful, but never with long delivery times. The fact that such a car in the U.S. is at once appreciated, says something about the glaring mistakes of past years. It is a part of the success, which the team at Alan Mulally today. The reason is late but it comes from. Earlier than others.

Focus 2012 is the first global platform Ford: With technology "made in Germany", built more cheaply in the U.S., for the U.S..

A man with a white mustache is therefore quite satisfied with himself and his company exhibition halls in Detroit: Derrick Kuzak. "Customers from all over the world want smaller cars with low fuel consumption, but without compromising on style, technology and driving dynamics, they are used by larger vehicles." Kuzak is rather not the type for the grand entrance. A quiet, almost shy type, mouse-gray suit and discreet ties. Only very rarely did he speak, say people who know him well. That he should do it here in front of hundreds journalists, evidently caused him more stress than pleasure.

It does not change the fact that he Fords decisive advantage. Kuzak, vice president and product developer, is on Ford the important switching point between Europe and North America: what Opel in its parent company GM has been missing since decades. Kuzak has 30 years Ford worked on his back and both sides of the Atlantic. That completely in Cologne Development Center Merkenich Fiesta and Focus models developed unfiltered now find their way to Detroit, is his work. A focal point for the world, for more than ten years.

When engineers finally explain the technological nuances of the new Focus model, are among the four FordTwo German managers: Gunnar Hermann, responsible for middle-class production line, and Stefan Lamm, Chief Designer of the Focus. Two German on the main stage in Detroit, the Opel team were pale with envy.

Otherwise, this may only talk about people like Dieter Zetsche.

The DaimlerBoss has his left arm after a skiing accident in a Bordeaux red loop. Zetsche has fallen not only in skiing on the nose, but also with the Smart. Again. In U.S. sales are plunging, and the Daimler-Squad seems perplexed. So Zetsche prefers to talk about his larger cars, because the run better. "It is impossible to see that the Americans prefer smaller cars per se." The trend had just shot again, in December, 53 percent of vehicles sold were light trucks. Zetsche, "As many as before the crisis."

FordCEO Mulally sees it differently. He expected that the small car segment will grow strongly, by 2012 to 3.4 million cars sold. "We’re talking globally, from the largest market segment."

It should be otherwise, should a situation arise in a number of years that a little more focus as a business model is not enough, Mulally has at least a small consolation. His Transit Connect was awarded just as Truck of the Year ".

America’s carmakers

Ford As the only American car company is Ford no tax money has come through the crisis. Problem brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin had Ford sold in time. In addition, CEO Alan Mulally, the company received back just before the crisis, a capital infusion of 24 billion U.S. dollars – even though he pledged to the company logo.

General Motors For the once largest car company in the world, it was a humiliation, as he had to go into insolvency in June 2009. The U.S. government is helping GM with almost 60 billion U.S. dollars, and now holds 60 percent of the shares. Brands like Pontiac or Saab must die. At the German subsidiary Opel GM boss Ed Whitacre wants to hold on but now after all.

Chrysler The least the "big three" was the first, slid into bankruptcy – in April 2009. The U.S. government rescued Chrysler with nine billion dollars, as a new investor with a Fiat rose 20 percent. Sergio Marchionne now controls the group, with up to 2007 Daimler heard of. On a net basis, he wants to create even 2011 at the break.